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The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence.

An Oifig Náisiúnta um Fhoréigean Baile, Gnéasach agus Inscnebhunaithe a Chosc

  1. Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is held in June each year, in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action which recognises the significance of elder abuse, a public health and human rights concern. On Thursday June 14th 2012, the Health Service Executive (HSE), the National Centre for the Protection of Older People (NCPOP), University College Dublin, in collaboration with the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) will host a conference on elder abuse in the Health Sciences Centre, University College Dublin.

Elder abuse can occur in many forms and may be the result of deliberate intent, negligence or ignorance. A person may experience more than one form of abuse at a time. Types of elder mistreatment include: physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, neglect or acts of omission and discriminatory abuse. 

The HSE elder abuse service received over 2,000 referrals for alleged elder abuse during 2011. Psychological abuse was the most frequently reported form of abuse at 35%, followed by financial abuse (23%), neglect (19%), physical abuse (12%) and sexual abuse (2%). 

A recent report by the NCPOP, Abuse and Neglect of Older People in Ireland  (2010), provided the first national prevalence statistics on the extent of elder abuse and neglect amongst community-dwelling older people.  The overall prevalence of elder abuse and neglect in the previous 12 months was 2.2%. This suggests that over 10,000 people over the age of 65 years experienced mistreatment in the previous year.  Approximately 4% of older people living in the community have experienced some form of abuse since turning 65 years of age.

Senior Case Workers are employed in the HSE to coordinate the response to allegations and concerns of elder abuse. The focus of the Senior Case Workers’ intervention is crucially about safeguarding the well-being of clients, and in collaboration with the older person and their families, to determine what supports and interventions may be needed to alleviate the situation and prevent further concerns arising.  Safety plans are drawn up in collaboration with the multidisciplinary team involved, and may include liaison with voluntary and statutory agencies as appropriate. 

All referrals of alleged elder abuse to the HSE are treated in confidence and, as much as possible, handled in a way that respects the wishes of the older person.  The aim of the HSE service is to ensure the safety and well-being of an older person while providing support to stop the abusive behaviour.  Anyone who is being abused, or is concerned about abuse, should talk to someone they trust or they can contact the HSE Information Line on 1850 24 1850

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